The Astros are 0-6 against the Pirates this season and have a pathetic record of 9-12. Those are the two most glaring statistics of the 2007 season so far. There are others, of course, like being near the bottom in team batting average, runs scored, etc. Why is a team that boasts power hitters like Lance Berkman, Carlos Lee and Morgan Ensberg not able to produce runs?
The answer is really simple and rather sad when the leader in batting average from the everyday lineup is Brad Ausmus—he of the .260 average. The players that the Astros needed at least a decent average of .275 or over from are not performing and taking up roster space while center fielder Hunter Pence and third baseman Mark Saccomanno tear it up in AAA a mere 90 minutes north. Berkman and Lee will come around, their current batting averages won’t last, but, they are the only two who should get a pass. Players like Chris Burke, Morgan Ensberg, Luke Scott and Jason Lane are so pathetic right now, that something really needs to be done about them.
The Astros really need to do an objective inventory of their 25 man roster and replace underperforming players with those from AAA who are proving they are deserving of a chance at the bigs. My list of players that need to be traded or demoted is rather long. But then, the string of Astros losses is rather long too.
I would trade Brad Lidge, Morgan Ensberg and Jason Lane for whatever I could get for them. I would bring up Pence and keep Stephen Randolph on the big league roster. Randolph is a lefty reliever who’s pitched really well in AAA so far with an ERA of 0.84 and a WHIP of 0.66; earning him a call up to Houston when Rick White was placed on the DL on April 25th. I wouldn’t send Burke down just yet, but I would bench him or platoon him with Scott in RF.
This is what my lineup would look like:
Palmeiro, Burke, Lamb, Quintero, and Munson or Mark Saccomanno.